Friday 31 August 2012

Giveaway Winner: Importance of Being Earnest t-shirt

 The winner of the Importance of Being Earnest t-shirt from Aoristic is...

... Joyce, who said: "this shirt so belongs in my wardrobe! :)"

Thursday 30 August 2012

Bargain Bundles

Psst - I've added some bargain crafty bundles to my Etsy shop!

There are some bundles of "not quite perfect" wool blend felt...

... these are squares with small marks on them or other imperfections that mean they didn't meet my usual quality standards, so I'm selling them at a discounted price.

I'm also "destashing" some synthetic felt sheets to make a bit more room in my studio for storing new supplies...

... and I'm clearing out some bundles of elastic headbands too.

All the bargain bundles can be found HERE.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Show and Tell: The Owl Edition

This is a very special edition of my "show and tell" series. Instead of crafty things made by my customers, today I'm sharing things made by my blog readers. Well, one specific thing actually... felt owls made using this tutorial.

I've been collecting these photos for a while (for at least a year!) and have finally got around to putting them all together to share with you guys. It's been so lovely seeing so many owls popping up around the internet since I published the tutorial - it's wonderful that so many people have liked my owl enough to sew one for themselves!

Sandra from Homely Pursuits made her owl as part of a pledge to do a "monthly make" throughout 2012:

Michela of FantaFeltro made a trio of mini owls:

Alexis at Wagon Full of Stars made a felt owl...

... and a fun felt owl activity board for her son who shouted "Owl! Owl! Hoo hoo!" upon seeing my tutorial :)

Georgina stitched a couple of purple owls:

Kristin from Domestically Unemployed used my owl pattern to make her very first felt stuffie: 

Karen from Sunburnt Quilts made a whole parliament of owls...

... including a cute Christmas-themed owl!

Jessica got in touch via Etsy to share some of her first felt creations - including an owl and some flower hairclips made using patterns from my book, Super-Cute Felt.

Daniela from Assim ou assado adapted my owl pattern to make a case for her phone:

Laura of Betula'Loo wrote a guest post here last autumn about the fun crafternoon she had making felt owls with her friends:

Rozantia used a recycled woolen jacket & sweater, plus some felt to make this tweedy owl:

And (last but by no means least) Chris from 365 days of DIY used my owl pattern as inspiration for adding some awesome felt owl elbow patches (or "owlbow" patches) to one of her cardigans:

Thanks to everyone who shared photos of their owls! If you'd ever like to share pics of what you've been making from my tutorials, please do get in touch. You can leave a comment & a link here on my blog, or get in touch via my website contact form

Want to make your own owls, or to give as gifts? You can find the free felt owl pattern HERE.

Monday 27 August 2012

Giant Granny Square Blanket: Finished!

With my mother & sister helping me take a photo of my sky-blanket-in-progress at the weekend, I thought it was a good opportunity to finally get a couple of snaps of the giant granny square blanket I made last year.

Look how big it is!

This blanket is the first thing I've ever crocheted (if you don't include the small practice square I made when learning the technique), and the largest thing I've ever made (I've knitted a couple of blankets before but they were much smaller than this).

One of the lovely ladies at my old knitting club taught me how to make a simple granny square and I just kept crocheting until the blanket was big enough for a double bed. It's a slightly distorted square but it looks "just square enough" not to look strange when it's lying on a bed.

The sunshine makes the colours seem a bit brighter than they are to the naked eye - this photo is a bit more

Lots and lots of happy hours went into the blanket - towards the end, it took over an hour to crochet a single round (I really don't want to do the maths and work out how long it must have taken in total).

It was a very relaxing project, not least because crocheting it all in one piece meant I only had a few ends to sew in when it was finished (just the strands which were left each time I switched colours). Its size did mean that it wasn't the world's most easily portable craft project though, and I had to take a break from it during the warmer weeks of summer as it was just too hot to sit with a great big blanket on my lap! (I started it in May and finally finished sewing in the ends in September).

I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and I'm still a big fan of the colours I chose - the umming and aahhing in the shop while I was trying to find a selection of colours that worked well together (and the eye-rolls and slightly impolite comments I received from the shop staff, especially when I realised I needed to pop to a cash machine before paying as the yarn ended up costing a bit more than I'd expected as I'd chosen so many colours) was totally worth it.

I didn't plan the colour arrangement totally in advance, but I did plan each repeat of the seven colours. I stitched one row / two rows / one row / three rows, and made sure to arrange the colours so I ended up with a balance of the different shades throughout the blanket and so I avoided creating the same colour combinations over and over. I had planned on finishing with a double row of the navy blue, but alas I ran out of that shade / batch number of yarn & couldn't get hold of any more! (If my memory serves me well, I think I bought two balls of each shade?) Ah well. 

I definitely want to try making another crochet blanket sometime, and I'd very much recommend it if you're thinking of trying to make one yourself. If a crochet novice like me can manage it, so can you :)

Sunday 26 August 2012

Sky Blanket, Days 1-234

Time for a sky blanket update!

My sky blanket is based on Lea Redmond's sky scarf project. I'm knitting a square a day for (almost) a year, based on the colour of the sky at midday.

I'm almost up to date with knitting + sewing all the squares (though I've still got LOTS of ends to sew in).

This is what it looks like at the moment, with all the squares up to (and including) the one for 22nd August:

The weather continues to be very changeable, but you can definitely see more bright blue squares popping up in the recent summer months. 

This is how it looked way back in April - it's very cool to see how much it's grown!

Slightly confusingly, I forgot which direction I'd held the blanket up in when I took the earlier photo (oops!) - so in the August pic the first square (from January 1st) is in the bottom left hand corner, and in the April pic the first square is in the top left hand corner.

I think I'm going to have to stitch a small X or something into the first square so I can always easily remember which one it is when I am boring people silly by blahing on about my sky blanket project in future years :)

Thursday 23 August 2012

Giveaway: Importance of Being Earnest t-shirt from Aoristic

Remember last month when I blogged about the awesome t-shirts I'd found while updating my working wardrobe?

Well, one of the t-shirts I ordered was a "The Importance of Being Earnest" shirt from Aoristic. There was a bit of a mix up and they ended up sending me a men's medium instead of a womens (oops) but quickly resent the order with the correct shirt and let me keep the men's shirt as well.

So I get to turn t-shirt mix up lemons into t-shirt giveaway lemonade! Hurrah!

There is one men's/unisex medium "The Importance of Being Earnest" shirt available. 

This is "a serious t-shirt for trivial people", featuring a handprinted design on a white American Apparel 2001 Fine Jersey shirt.

Maybe you'd like this t-shirt for yourself? Or you know a book-loving someone for whom it would make the perfect gift?

For your chance to win, just leave a comment on this post before 10pm on Thursday 30th August. I'll pick a winner at random on Friday 31st August.

Please make sure you leave a name or pseudonym (no anonymous comments please!) and leave a blog link, Twitter username, Etsy username or email address so I can contact you. If I'm unable to contact the winner within two weeks, I will pick someone else.

UPDATE: this giveaway is now closed. 

Monday 20 August 2012

Just Enough Thread

This week I almost ran out of these colours while working on something for a deadline... 

... luckily I had just enough to finish, but as you can see the orange was an especially close call!

Friday 17 August 2012

Preparing for more Grey Skies

I got a big parcel full of yarn in the post earlier this week...

... lots of light grey yarn for my sky blanket.

One of the trickiest things about working on this project was guessing how many balls of each colour I should buy and, well, I guessed wrong! There have have been so many cloudy, grey days this year that I ran out of the light grey weeks ago.

This lot should hopefully last me until the end of my blanket (unless the weather is really, really miserable, I guess! fingers crossed that's not the case).

Thursday 16 August 2012

Busy Busy Busy

The two main things I'm working on at the moment are: 1) finishing my accounts and 2) meeting a deadline for a project I can't share with you guys yet.

Neither of these things are very blogging-friendly!

I've also been packing & posting shop orders...

... catching up on some emails, and tinkering with my "Press" page.

I'm not sure that anyone other than me (and maybe my mum) really cares about my press page, but just in case you're interested... I've added a couple of recent press mentions (including a lovely letter one of my blog readers wrote to Craftseller magazine recommending my blog - thanks Charlotte!) and also given my "online press" section a big revamp, replacing the boring old links list with some much snazzier screenshots. I've been meaning to update it for simply ages, but I knew how long and boring a job it was going to be so I kept putting it off. It's great to have finally got it ticked off my to do list.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

A Mention I forgot to Mention

Last year I was really pleased to have some of my products included in DaWanda's Winter "Lovebook" - a mini catalogue they send out to the press as a sampler of some of the handmade goodness available on the site.

Then this year I was delighted that they chose to feature me & my shop in one of the mini interviews that are dotted throughout Summer Lovebook's pages. Especially as they said such nice things about my work :)

It's been a busy year though, and I completely forgot to blog about it! Oops.


If you fancy a look through the whole of the summer Lookbook, you can download it as a PDF here.

Monday 6 August 2012

Sale Bargains!

I've been working on my laptop this weekend while watching lots and lots and lots of sport on the telly. I've mostly been doing my accounts (filling in spreadsheets has never been this exciting before!) but I've also been updating the sale section over in my Etsy shop

I've added a lot of new things to the sale section, including felt flower necklaces (now half price) ...

... and an assortment of butterfly brooches.

I've also reduced the price on a few things that have been hanging around on sale for a while now, so there's lots of pieces available for just £3, £4 or £5. Hurrah!

Click here to check out the full range of sale items

Friday 3 August 2012

What's In That Tin?

Over the years I've collected lots of boxes & pretty tins to store my craft supplies and other stuff in my studio. Would you like to see what's in some of the tins?

This is one of my "random projects in progress" tins. These aren't projects I'm currently working on, it's more like a sketchbook of ideas that I'll go back to at some point. There are also a few things in here (like the Good Luck card) which are leftovers from old projects. This tin & the next one were part of a set from John Lewis, with a teacup design by Ella Doran.

Lots of felt beads!

Most of my embroidery threads are now neatly wound on bobbins making them super easy to find & use, but I always have some spare skeins and they live in this tin along with some mini embroidery hoops. This tin was one of Sanna Annukka's Christmas designs for M&S last year.

Another "random projects in progress" tin, and another M&S purchase.

A small tin full of my paper patterns (another of Sanna Annukka's designs for M&S).

Some of my current work in progress (mostly just old designs I'm restocking), in yet another M&S biscuit tin (they really do make the best tins!).

Last but not least, my most recent M&S purchase which now houses my camera, the camera battery charger and the USB cable for connecting the camera to my laptop. Not exactly "crafty" supplies, but very vital bits of kit for my job!